HOW MAPLE SYRUP IS MADE
This part of Pennsylvania the syrup season usually begins in February by drilling small holes into the side of mature maple trees. A spout or tap is then driven into the hole which provides an exit for the mostly crystal clear sap to flow from. A tapped tree does not produce sap every day and surely it is not a consistent amount collected on a daily basis. Weather plays a huge part in the maple sugaring season. Ideally a daytime high in the 40s F and nighttime lows below 32 F provide the best sap flows. These temperatures allow the tree to build pressure within the tree causing sap to flow out the drilled hole.
Sap is collected via a network of tubing strung tree to tree to tree. Currently over 25 miles of tubing connect all our trees together allowing sap to be collected quickly and as cleanly as possible.
Sap is then concentrated and cooked using a wood-fired evaporator. Once up and running, sap is continually feed to the evaporator pan where the hot flames underneath boil the sap and evaporate the water. The process is very labor intensive as dry wood has to be added every 5-10 minutes to keep the fire as hot as possible. As the sap becomes concentrated it is checked until enough water has been evaporated to produce finished syrup. Once syrup statel is reached: it is filtered, bottled and ready to serve! Although sugar content varies between species of maple tree and even from tree to tree of the same species, maple sap is approximately 98% water and approximately 2% sugar. When the syrup is finished, it is only 33% water and 67% sugar. Because of this it generally requires between 40 and 50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of finished syrup.
The length of the sugaring season is totally dependent upon the weather. It can last anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks. As the spring days become increasingly warmer, the buds on of the maple trees begin to swell, marking the end of the season.
There are four grades of maple syrup:
Grade A Golden (Delicate Taste)
Grade A Amber (Rich Taste)
Grade A Dark (Robust Taste)
Grade A Very Dark (Strong Taste)